How to Become an OR Nurse

The first step toward any nursing specialty is to become a registered nurse. To become a registered nurse, students must earn a degree from a state-approved school of nursing, be it a four-year program or two-year associate degree, and pass a state licensing examination. To be more competitive, a four-year bachelor of science in nursing is preferable. For those nurses that already have an ADN or nursing diploma, it may be beneficial to complete an RN to BSN program to help set yourself apart from the competition. Click Here to find CCNE and NLNAC accredited RN to BSN programs. Additional courses or training in OR nursing would give a competitive edge to entering this specialization. Once some surgical experience is gained, you can take an exam to become certified in operating room nursing.

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Operating Room Nurse Job Description and Duties

There are different ways to specialize in nursing, and operating room nurses are nurses who specialize by setting or type of treatment. They assist the surgical teams before, during, and after the surgery. They have the responsibility of preparing and maintaining the operating room for surgeries, ensuring it is sterile, and having tools and instruments ready for regular procedures as well as possible emergencies. They are also monitor the patients carefully, and are prepared to quickly respond to sudden emergencies that can occur during surgery, such as hemorrhage, or cardiac or respiratory failure. They also prepare the patient for surgery, communicate with them, and care for them post-surgery. They are the communication lines between the patient, the doctors, and hospital. They are the surgical team’s line of support, and also responsible for ensuring the safety of the patient.

Operating Room Nurse Salary and Job Outlook

Healthcare is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States due to the growing aging population and the large portion of healthcare workers approaching retirement. Registered nurses are the largest group of workers in healthcare, and about 56% of nurses work in hospital settings, such as the operating room. Nursing in general is projected to see roughly 587,000 job openings before 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. This is the largest projected rate of growth of any other occupation. According to BLS, hospital nursing jobs are not growing quite as fast as other nursing positions, yet there are still large numbers of openings there due to higher turnover. Hospitals are increasingly offering more perks and flexible work schedules to attract and retain qualified nurses.

According to, the median salary for a staff nurse in an operating room is $63,586. This will vary, depending on region, hospital, and years of experience. The head operating room nurse median salary climbs to $91,076 and can reach over $100,000. For nurses seeking a challenging specialty, the right experience and training can lead them to this rewarding career.

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Accredited Programs for OR Nurses

Liberty University – Department of Nursing

Liberty University’s Online MSN – Clinical Nurse Specialist Acute Care Track is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. Graduates are prepared for national certification as a CNS and work as practitioners and/or educators. This program is enrolling now. Request information today!

Programs Offered: MSN – Acute Care Track Clinical Nurse Specialist Online

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